Yes it’s true for everyone.
Mark normal Christianity is no threat to Doubt at all. In fact it’s the opposite. Normal Christianity keeps you in a cocoon of comfortable belief. A nice easy belief. You don’t have much call for Doubt because you seldom risk your comfortable faith by trying to hear a God who might not speak.
Yes God I know all that. It’s why I signed up for a walking talking relationship with you. But instead I have Doubt for my constant companion. I’m sick to death of his chatter. He’s got something to say at every turn.
Welcome to the club Mark. He was constantly at me, the closer I got to God, the more he was there annoying and disrupting the relationship.
‘Next [after he was baptised and the Spirit had fallen on him in the form of a dove] Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it.’ MATT 4:1 MSG
Read the rest of the text Mark. ‘IF you are the son of God tell these stones to become bread…’ ‘IF you are the son of God, jump off…’ DOUBT. Can you see that Mark? Then the clincher, ‘All of the kingdoms of the world are mine to give’. God told me they were going to be mine, not his, yet he wanted me to doubt that. Everything God told me, Doubt wanted me to doubt. Doubt came to tempt me, he’ll tempt you.
But God I never had this problem with normal Christianity. Back then I believed in you, but doubt wasn’t a big feature of my belief. Sometimes I doubted whether you existed, but it wasn’t very threatening and I could, over time resolve that yes, you really did exist.
Do you want to go back to normal Christianity? It’s ok if you do.
Back then I seldom heard you. Not that I could be absolutely sure of. Now you speak all the time. Back then I might have heard you speak about ten, I don’t know, maybe 20 times in my whole life. I mean the times that I can be absolutely sure of.
It was always big stuff, getting married, choosing my career, what to do about my son who had cancer, shifting towns – I heard you those times, but not much otherwise. Now you talk more than that about where to string the electric fence in the house paddock.
Mark I spoke just as much back then, but you weren’t taught to recognise it. But that’s ok, you’re learning now, and I’ve got time.
Yes but now you talk so much I can write down what you say. Sentence after sentence. And it seems to be the same for lots of others who try it. We can write down what you say. And if we show it to others, THEY can see you in it. Yet we ourselves are often left bruised and toyed with by Doubt.
What’s that about God? I’m absolutely sick and tired of it. He’s my CONSTANT companion. So much so that when others tell me my conversations with you are helping them I shake my head and think if only they knew. I wish sometimes there was no conversation. The conversation brings so much pain. It bruises me God, leaves me worn out. You say stuff that is wonderful to hear, but the moment you’ve said it, he shouts out the refrain. He shouts ‘you know God didn’t really say that.’
It’s getting so bad I wish you wouldn’t talk, because the moment you do, he does too.
I can’t stop talking. I have to do it to keep the universe created and in order. BUT you can stop listening if you like.
That’s the point. I can’t. Well I don’t want to. I’m betwixt and between. Now I’ve heard you speak so fluently and frequently, I’m addicted. It’s not a religious experience, it’s a selfish addiction. I couldn’t exist without it. I think I’d go insane.
So there you are. You’ve got a decision to make haven’t you. Which is worse Mark? That sliming devil Doubt trying to drive you mad, or horrible loneliness of not hearing me speak constantly?
It would be far worse not hearing your voice. So you’re saying if I want to hear you speak all day, I have to get used to Doubt?
Yes. I mentioned this the other day, the bible makes it very clear that the devil is always about trying to harass you. ‘Beware your enemy the devil…’ The more you hear me, the more he has to harass you to try and reduce the power of my words. Without doubt, a conversation with me would make you virtually unstoppable within a matter of days. He recognises that even though you don’t. So he must be at you. For some he uses just a feeling, a feeling of being unsure, that does the trick because they are people of feeling. But for others, people of words like you, he speaks, clearly, shouts and sings and cajoles and taunts constantly. He uses the weapons most likely to work on you. He's been watching you since you were born, he knows how to hurt you.
God I’m sick of him. I used to be scared of the devil. Now I’m so sick of him, I’d like to get my hands around his neck and knee him in the groin. He’s ruining my life.
That’s his plan. But actually it’s backfiring on him. You’re beginning to ruin his. He thinks he’s hit you with the master swipe, but the more he pushes his hand, the more the desperation, disillusionment and fear drives you into me. He hadn’t counted on that.
Mark he’s done far more than you could possibly realise to try to ruin your life. But he hasn’t seen my plans, hasn’t seen the final outcome, the end of each chapter. I’m the author, not him. And now that you’re co-writing, he’s about to be deeply disappointed.
God all that sounds lovely, but even as I wrote your words just then, he’s singing in the background, ‘you have to be joking, you know that wasn’t God’. Grrrrr! I’ve just about had him God. I mean that.
Good. And by the way, is he right? Was that me or not?
It sure sounded like you.
Exactly. Mark Doubt is no stranger to any human.
Can I just interrupt here about the capital ‘D’ for Doubt. People often correct me about that, they say it’s supposed to have a lowercase ‘d’.
They’re right. In a normal sentence it does. Doubt, when a state of mind, has a lowercase ‘d’. But when we’re talking about the sliming, filthy, disgusting, reprehensible, disruptive, pathetic, grovelling being – him – then it’s his name. Doubt.
Now back to the fact that Doubt is no stranger to any human. It doesn’t matter who you are, atheist, Buddhist, Christian, whatever – in the most important areas of your life you have Doubt. He harasses everyone. Take Edison and his light bulb. 2000 experiments required to invent something that has changed the human experience for better. Imagine your life without lightbulbs Mark?? Do you think for one moment that Edison never doubted, never tussled with that filth Doubt? The evil is busy all the time, in everyone’s lives Mark. He could see the potential that Edison had at his fingertips and wanted none of it. Enjoyment for you is pain for him. He wants your destruction at every turn, in every situation. And so he comes, to everyone.
So Edison had doubt in his secular inventing life, but in normal Christianity there isn’t much. Why is that then?
Because Edison was about to realise his potential and to change the history of man as a result. Doubt hates it when humans realise their potential. Whereas normal Christianity is no threat to him at all. It’s the opposite, it keeps you in a cocoon of comfortable belief where you seldom have to risk that belief by trying to hear a God who might not speak.
Yes but God the old comfortable Christianity was so, well, comfortable. That way was normal. This isn’t. I send what you say others and they say it changes their lives. But I’m left sitting here getting the snot beaten out of me.
Enough talk Mark. Let me ask you a question. Is this me speaking?
So you’re sure of that?
Is he saying anything right now?
What’s he saying?
That it’s NOT you talking.
I think you have your answers then Mark. You know what’s going on. Doubt will always harass you. Keep listening to me. When he says ‘Yes but did God say that?’ Say ‘tell you what, let’s ask him shall we?’ And come ask me.
Ok. At the start of this you said that Doubt AND Anger are our greatest temptations. Explain please.
Mark the sins you Christians think are your worst temptations pale in comparison to the effect Doubt has on you. You need to prioritise, fight him where he’s strongest first. Then the lesser sins, the ones you think are worse, will be easier to deal with. He loves that you are all worried about the smaller temptations and ignoring the ones where he’s really damaging you.
Are you sure God? Doubt and Anger the greatest temptations.
Yes. If you doubt me, then the thing you were born for, a conversation, back and forward with me, is almost impossible to sustain. And then, doubting me, as most of you Christians do, you begin to doubt those closest to you. That’s the enemy’s game plan. If you doubt me and my love, if you relegate it to a belief, a ‘faith’, rather than a reality, you’ll begin to doubt them and their love too. When you doubt them, you hurt them. It pushes you apart.
When you doubt me, and them, you become insular. The smallest things they do make you angry. You turn inwards and away from each other. And then relationships are destroyed. And you with them. And then he wins. The smaller temptations normally come riding in on the wings of their masters Doubt and Anger. Once Doubt and Anger have had their way with you, they hand you over to the more obvious destroyers of relationships with me and others. So look for the commanders among the enemy forces, Doubt and Anger. Hunt them down, and destroy them. Then their servants will quickly disperse.
If you like what you read and want to know more about these conversations with God, you can purchase your own copy of Mark Holloway's book, 'The Freedom Diaries - God Speaks Back'.